The First Letter: R – Redemptorist
As Redemptorists, we are disciples of Christ the Redeemer, and His saving work in the world for all people. Good News needs to be proclaimed. Our founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori, lived at a time when the heresy of Jansenism was influencing parts of the Church. It was a teaching that kept people bound in their sins because they were not worthy of God’s love, nor could ever be worthy of it. Through focusing on the love of God through the redemption of all creation, St. Alphonsus influenced the Church through his contribution to the understanding of prayer, the formation of conscience, moral theology, Eucharist, Mary, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
As Redemptorists and Lay Collaborators, our work has to be missionary:
“The Explicit proclamation of the Word of God to bring about fundamental conversion.”
At our 1985 General Chapter, our world wide superiors reflected upon the following Latin phrase which has in turn become a theme of reflection and mission for the Redemptorists across the globe for over the last 20 years.
“Evangelizare pauperibus et a pauperibus evangelizari”
“To Evangelize the Poor, and to be Evangelized by the Poor”
It has meant great challenge within the Redemptorist Congregation, but has forced us to see that we do not just have a complete message to give about Redemption. It’s not a “we give”, and “they take”. The message of Good News, and the Good News of Plentiful Redemption is not a commodity to be given away….. We have to see that our mission of evangelization is held in mutuality with those with whom we minister. In our ministry, there is a special focus towards the abandoned in our world and in our Church.
So we ask ourselves, “How does the message and our method of proclamation of the Good News need to take shape where we find ourselves?” AND, “What is God’s grace already doing in the lives of those we serve; so that we can learn and shape how the message of the Good News can indeed be Good News, and help us grow in our own journey of faith and Redemption?”
We read from our Constitutions:
“The most abandoned, to whom in particular the Congregation is sent, are those for whom the Church has not yet been able to provide sufficient means of salvation, those who have never heard the Church’s message, or at least do not receive it as the “Good News”, and finally those who suffer harm because of division in the Church.”
The Mission of Evangelization among Youth and Young Adults
Back in the mid 1980’s, when reflecting on the Redemptorist Constitutions in light of the signs of the times, our Congregation world-wide saw that “youth” (ages 16-35) were among the poor and abandoned in our Church today. This has become a world-wide initiative for our ministry today in many parts of our world, and has evolved into a wide range of experiences of youth and young adult ministry, depending upon the needs and culture where this ministry has grown.
Some Goals of R.Y.V.M.
- To help youth and young adults to discover their God given gifts and potential as signs of Christ’s presence in the world. Through the giftedness of their lives, young people participate in the proclamation of the Good News of Plentiful Redemption to a world in need.
- Redemptorists and Lay Collaborators look to find different ways to minister to youth and young adults, to empower them through leadership opportunities, and to continue to evangelize and be evangelized in these ministries. Young people are invited to share in the mission opportunities, and not just be on the receiving end of the mission.
- Following in the footsteps of St. Alphonsus, our ministries must be performed through simple language, easily understand, attentive to people and their situations, capable of using the power of love and centrality of conscience.
- Any Ministry “done well” is vocation ministry: “vocation” understood in terms of discovering the call of Baptism as the starting point of living out your life in Christ. Of course, there is a Vocational Component to R.Y.V.M., and seeks to foster the discernment of Young Men who are called to live their life as a Redemptorist Priest or Brother.